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Report Decries London Police 'Boys' Club' Abuses

A damning new assessment of London's police force, documenting a "boys' club" culture that pervades the force, called for change in a department plagued by systemic problems rooted in sexism, misogyny, racism and homophobia, the New York Times reports. Compiled by Louise Casey, a member of the House of Lords who was called in to conduct the assessment after the murder in 2021 of Sarah Everard by a police officer, the report said the organization's response to that and other scandals included “playing them down, denial, obfuscation and digging in to defend officers without seeming to understand their wider significance."


The report found that officers were targeted by colleagues because of their religion, sexual orientation or gender. One account described a Sikh officer having his beard cut off because a colleague thought it was funny. Officers reported dehumanizing initiation rituals: Some officers said they had been urinated on, and women described being forced to eat cake until they vomited. “This is a damning, excoriating shocking report,” said Zoe Billingham, a former inspector for the Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, an independent police watchdog group in Britain. “I think it’s seismic in its magnitude in terms of the reverberations it will send across the policing in the capital, but also in terms of the cultural challenges in policing across the U.K. as well.” In one example recorded in the report, an officer told of how “women are viewed as inferior and not truly belonging, being judged on looks and physical assets only. Only women who are either attractive or willing to have sex with colleagues are accepted.” Mark Rowley, the commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service, said in a statement on Tuesday morning that the report must be a “catalyst for police reform” and offered an apology from the force. The report was commissioned by then-Commissioner Cressida Dick, who resigned amid widespread criticism of her handling of the institution's problems.

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